August 29, 2008

RoofRay - Calculate your roof's solar potential

I just tried this out. The site - RoofRay - uses Google Map technology and you map out your roof segments to determine the potential of solar panels.

We could save a lot of electricity and money if we installed solar on both our house and our shed.

Enough to pay back the costs of installing solar? Probably not at this point. But maybe if/when Obama becomes president.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

TGIF Linktastic

[via Crafty Crow]:
Great idea for preserving your kids' artwork: thumbnails!

Skip to my Lou has another great tutorial - this time for a felt crayon roll. So much easier than the last one - less sewing and no turning!

Good idea to make Christmas a bit less stressful - fill stockings all year long.

I'm loving the flower photographs at this shop: SunkissedPhotography

I also think my very talented sister should open her own shop, don't you?

I love the bird prints and paintings at Mincing Mockingbird

KERN sweatshirt - love this!

Oh, to be able to afford an octopus chandelier. (And to be able to convince Aaron that buying one is a fabulous idea...)

Homemade Freezer Jam. No canning.

On a completely different vein: Life Skills 101: A Curriculum for Food, Finance, and Other Real World Basics. I'm bookmarking this to teach to Sophie when she gets a bit older. Every person should be taught these things. Teach your kids how to live in the world.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:27 AM | Comments (2)

August 27, 2008

Cannot. Resist. Smooching.

I cannot resist this face.

(can you blame me?)

Posted by erika 'round about 06:10 AM | Comments (0)

Wednesday Links

Gift bows made from magazine pages.

DIY collage blocks. Although I haven't seen plain wood blocks like these anywhere - anyone have a source?

Make your own letter decals with contact paper. I never think to make my own decals.

We recently used white contact paper on the window panes on our porch door. I'll have to post some pictures. It worked great and it looks much better than it did.

Really, really clever - Nicole Kuepper Develops Solar Cells From Nail Polish, Ink Jet Printer, Pizza Oven. Go girl geeks!

Best cleaner ever? SporiClean. Amazing green enzyme cleaner. Read the comments for more uses. Fleas? Cleaning the mold on our brick? Cat pee? Too good to be true?

Top Ten Garden Uses for White Vinegar

Rolling Pin Prints - this one is for the stamp ladies - so simple and so clever!

Another one for the stamp ladies: Clever Word Search cards.

Also, linked from there is a very cool create-your-own word search tool.

Leather Bracelet Tutorial

[via The Crafty Crow]:
Must try with Sophie: Magic (Science) - coloring Queen Anne's Lace.

Pure eye candy: latest issue of Small magazine.

Block Print Tutorial

For when I finally get around to sewing a quilt: Binding Quilts and Corners

A coworker and I were *just* talking about what to do with all the crayon bits around the house and then the internets heard us and delivered this: Crazy Crayons. Crayon Recycling.

Ooh - SIGG lunch boxes! I love how they look like sardine cans.

Posted by erika 'round about 05:36 AM | Comments (2)

August 26, 2008

Sophie says...

A conversation between Aaron and Sophie while I was at the store:

A: I think you have a really good mommy.

S: Yeah. And she's a good cooker.

A: Yes, she is.

S: And a good cleaner.

A: You're right.

A: Are you going to be a good mommy when you get older?

S: (thinking for a bit) No. I'm going to be a circus.

(that's my girl) ;)

Posted by erika 'round about 06:00 AM | Comments (2)

August 25, 2008

Sophie's reading...

Sophie's latest favorite book: What Pete Ate from A to Z.

It's funny and involved and the illustrations are great. I thought, at first, that it was a bit old for her, but she's memorized a lot of it already and she asks for it over and over. I need to get more from Maira Kalman. I love her style.

We're waiting for Max Makes a Million to come into the library. I can't wait!

Posted by erika 'round about 06:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2008

T-shirt Dress

We had visitors from Oregon and things got a bit chaotic.

I started what was going to be a long tank-top shirt before their visit and then decided to add an extra layer at the bottom to make it a dress.

It started as one of Aaron's t-shirts:

Wardrobe Refashion - August 2008

and then I cut the neck square:

Wardrobe Refashion - August 2008

gathered and pinned the front and back necklines:

Wardrobe Refashion - August 2008

Sewed on some trim from an old gray maternity shirt and this is how the tank-top looked:

Wardrobe Refashion - August 2008

I was experimenting and pinning the arm holes in that picture. I still don't have them figured out.

And then I decided to cut the bottom of the gray maternity shirt and add it to the tank-top and voila! a t-shirt dress:

Wardrobe Refashion - August 2008

I still need to add some trim around the arm holes. It is quite comfy and I'm liking the fit. Also, it makes my boobs look bigger which is always an added bonus. ;)

Posted by erika 'round about 01:42 PM | Comments (3)

August 21, 2008

Pass it on - McCain was not tortured

I know, I know, it's all he can talk about right? That he's a former Prisoner of War?

But here's an important newsflash for you: He was NOT tortured.

In all the discussion of John McCain's recently recovered memory of a religious epiphany in Vietnam, one thing has been missing. The torture that was deployed against McCain emerges in all the various accounts. It involved sleep deprivation, the withholding of medical treatment, stress positions, long-time standing, and beating. Sound familiar?

According to the Bush administration's definition of torture, McCain was therefore not tortured.

via Americablog

Also, there's this: McCain will reinstate the draft to find bin Laden. There's video, too.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:05 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2008

Wednesday Food Links

I'm working on two birthday cakes - a glittery chocolate castle cake for a 6-year old tonight and a non-little girly chocolate cake (with a possible water slide) for a 9-year old for Sunday morning. My thoughts tonight are on towers and glitter and trying to convince Sophie that she really doesn't like chocolate cake and I'm so very sorry she can't eat this one. It's not for HER birthday, even though it probably looks really yummy and her birthday is coming soon. I have to start working on it while she's still up and about today or I'll never finish.

[via Cheap, Healthy, Good. Of course]:

Grilled Bananas with Chocolate. Very tempting.

The Frugal Whole Chicken - how to use a whole chicken for several different dishes.

Grocery Shopping for the Cheap and Lazy. Reminded me to try making a cucumber yogurt soup. Among other good ideas.

Via Craft: Fruit Juice "Gummies"

Posted by erika 'round about 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

Wednesday Craft Links

Venuszine's Annual Craft-off Contest - make a gift item for less than $40. Entries due by September 18. Winners will be in the December issue and get other prizes as well.

Love stems - recycled flowers using toilet paper rolls. I think Sophie could handle this one. They'd make gift wrap tags/decorations, too.

In case I ever get around to making a quilt - Machine Quilting 101. Lots of great tips and photos of the steps.

Homemade Watercolors.

We're still a ways away from this, but I like collecting these creative ideas - Magical Tooth Fairy Jar (so you don't have to wake your kid up trying to get the tooth from under their pillow.

Recycled Cereal Box Ideas (or anything from that kind of cardboard) (like *cough* beer cases) - I especially like the postcards.

Paper Pump Rocket - print it out, assemble, and launch.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:19 PM | Comments (1)

The Real John Sidney McCain: Lost in Space

John Sidney McCain: Lost in Space

Also, updated to add this: McCain does have more foreign policy experience than Obama - too bad it's mostly bad experience

Great commentary from the Star-Telegram:

There is little doubt about McCain’s lengthier foreign policy experience. But it is not at all apparent that his judgment is superior to Obama’s. Indeed, the record indicates that McCain’s own judgment is alarmingly bad....

McCain’s own prognostications on Iraq have repeatedly been off the mark....

There have been recent episodes in which McCain has missed even the most basic facts about foreign policy....

Despite McCain’s multiple trips to Iraq, he still manages to mangle facts on the ground....

McCain apparently is not even certain about Iraq’s geographic location....

Foreign policy is serious business, and America needs a president who carefully considers his comments rather than shoots from the hip. The world is always watching and listening, and such thoughtless remarks can do tremendous damage to America’s already tattered reputation.

McCain’s record shows clearly that he is a verbal loose cannon, and would be a clear and present danger in the Oval Office.


Oh, there's more: Is McCain another Bush?

Where are John McCain's writings exploring the vexing moral issues of our time? Where are his position papers setting forth his careful consideration of foreign policy, the welfare state, education, America's moral responsibility in the world, etc., etc., etc.?

John McCain graduated 894th in a class of 899 at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. His father and grandfather were four star admirals in the Navy. Some have suggested that might have played a role in McCain being admitted. His academic record was awful. And it shows over and over again whenever McCain is called upon to think on his feet.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:27 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2008

Tuesday Kid Links

[via Parent Hacks]: How to Tie a Shoe. With bunnies and trees and chasing dogs.

Good for kids, although this would have been perfect for me at the park last week. All the "Sophie don't forget to use the potty before we leave" didn't sink into my thick head. And then I finished a large coffee on the way there. Oy. It's tough holding it while playing "Don't get me!" with a group of kids. Yes, disposable. At least it's recyclable and the poo bags are biodegradable. I introduce to you: The Shit Box. And the little poop looks so proud of himself, doesn't he?

Okay, so this isn't so much a kid link but I don't want to start another post today: DIY Floral Foam Vase

Via Craft. Not necessarily for kids to do, but very fancy in a kid's room. Plus, I've always wanted to try the faux bois method. Faux Bois Ikea Shelf Unit Thingy.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:30 AM | Comments (0)

Tuesday Food Links

In case I haven't linked to this before: 20 Cheap, Healthy Dishes Made From 10 Pantry Staples

Another one from a new favorite site: Cheap, Healthy College Food: Tips for Frugal, Nutritious Dining in the Dorm and Beyond


More links from Cheap, Healthy, Good: Tips for Reducing Your Grocery Bill.

Here's my tip: my local grocery store chain offers an online grocery shopping service called Peapod. Now, they don't deliver to my area and the delivery fees are outrageous, but their online shopping tool is good. I use it to create a shopping list and then never actually have the groceries delivered. I can compare prices, see what's on sale and have everything planned before I go to the store. I used Webvan.com way back when in California and noticed that I was much more frugal when I could see the running tally. Using Peapod, I see the tally and I trim my list to include the essentials. It really, really helps keep things on a budget. I'm sure by telling you this, Peapod is going to cut me off, but there it is.

The other local grocery store chain offers a version where you can pre-order your groceries for pick up. Another good way to create a list and comparison shop for sales. That grocery store, however, is a bit out of my way and they don't have as many organic items as I'd like.

How's this for gross and wrong: Kids Meals–Not So Small After All

Ninety-three percent of 1,474 possible choices at the 13 chains exceed 430 calories—an amount that is one-third of what the Institute of Medicine recommends that children aged four through eight should consume in a day.

One to read later: Food Industry Roundup | The Cookbook Chronicles: cookbooks most often chosen by professionals.

More:
[via Craft]: Asparagus Gruyere Tart. Looks yummy and super easy. And super-pee-smelly! Just what I love in food. Added benefits. Hence the making of a huge pot of black beans for our Oregonian visitors at the beginning of the week. Add in (many, many) local craft brews and we were off to a roaring start.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2008

Crafty Links

Fabric Doll house tutorial. Very cute. There are also instructions for a fabric barn on her site.

Very pretty rick-rack quilted blocks.

Book rack from a clothes hanger.

Finger knitting tutorial. Apparently all the rage these days.

Colorful wool ball tutorial. Using scrappy yarn bits.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

Whew

We hosted and feted and drinkted some familia from Oregon this past week. Aaron's lovely sister and her husband and their daughter, J. J is 3 months younger than Sophie and they got along famously for the most part.

The best was J waking up later that Sophie and yelling down the stairs: "Hi Sophie! I'm awake!" and Sophie yelling back up: "Hi J! I'm downstairs!".

Lots of good times and LOTS of good beer and laughing. The house felt a bit cramped at times but the weather was fantastic and we were able to play outside a lot, too.

And I didn't post all week because they kept giving me grief about not posting. Ha! Showed them, didn't I?

I'll post photos and more later. Maybe.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:39 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2008

Daredevil

Our little daredevil. She could do this all day if Aaron let her.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:41 AM | Comments (0)

Mini Vader

Our little Vader.

Sorry the video is so dark. Although that kind of fits, doesn't it?


Posted by erika 'round about 06:40 AM | Comments (1)

Drill Now?

Posted by erika 'round about 06:32 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2008

Damages

Our lives have been consumed by a tv show. Have you seen Damages? Holy crap. We requested it from the library and got 3 disks we had to return in a week. There are a total of, I think, 12 episodes, each very long.

WOW. What a show. It reminded me of Michael Clayton but much more intense and dirty. Glenn Close is great (although, has she had plastic surgery? I kept getting distracted by her mouth and jawline) and so is everyone else. Dirty, nasty people involved in murder and double-crossing and manipulation. We both soaked it up. So intense. Because our schedules are so different, Aaron would watch the episodes during the day and then be beside himself waiting until the evening when I finally got to watch them. I highly, wholeheartedly, recommend the show.

We don't have the fancy cable (ours is limited to the network stations) and if you can Tivo it, there is a big marathon running on Saturday. Watch it, record it. You won't regret it. And be prepared to be a bit freaked out. And consumed.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

Linktastic

Really stylish and cool convertible desk by Crate & Barrel.

Fun and playful toy box solution. [via Home Style Guide]

[via Crafty Crow]: Freezer Paper Stencils. I keep meaning to try these. I have freezer paper and everything.

Bleach Stencil Placemats - very cool effect! It'd be interesting to try this on t-shirts, too. OR, attach a freezer paper stencil to something and then use the bleach effect.

Very pretty DIY retablos.

Retablos are devotionals, generally reserved for saints, but we identify with a more Buddhist/Pagan/Pantheist theology. So, when I asked the kids who they wanted to show gratitude to, they all agreed on the sun.


Draw me a potholder tutorial. Such a cute idea!

[via whip up]:
Rag Jewelry. Lovely. Reminds me of the rope bracelets we would get every summer on the Cape. And we'd compare bracelet tans at the end of the week to see who had the better one.

Really cute fabric doorstop. We have the cats' litter box out on the porch for the summer and we need something (better than Sophie's puzzle box) to prop open the door to cat-width to allow them in. This should do the trick.

Cute shirred summer dress. I always wondered how to sew the shirred effect. Elastic thread! Aha! Although I doubt I could get away with going bra-less. And I have no strapless bras that fit at the moment. Hmm...BUT, a Sophie-sized dress would be perfecto.

Fun in the summertime - PVC sprinkler toy thingy. "Kid Wash"

Craft/Cooking Contests to try and remember:

Indie Fixx Craft-off contest featuring the number 2. Entries due by September 6.

Dairy Recipe contest at The Pioneer Woman. (LOVE her site). Uh oh, entries due August 13. I've got to get on that. The prizes are AMAZINGLY generous.

Make a Bag contest - entries due August 20.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:38 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2008

Sophie-isms

Before I forget:

She loves saying: "Two girls..."

For instance, when we're both sitting on the couch: "Two girls on the couch!"

Or, even better, when we were at the mall and in the bathroom: "Two girls going potty!"

She's been adding "Geez!" to a lot of statements. "Not pretzels, Mama, almonds. Geez!"

Another favorite saying: "Look at me. Won't you just look at me!"

Or: "That's not a good idea" (said in a very sing-song voice)

Also, I have a funny video to upload tonight that involves a mask.

She must have had another developmental leap in the last couple of weeks because she is just non-stop chattering. She always talked a lot, but now it's very detailed. And she's generally in a very good mood. And she's joking a lot - and getting the jokes - which is a lot of fun. "Guess what? Chicken butt." elicits giggles every time.

She also likes to make up words. Her current favorites: doni, koni, blane. Her favorite name is Carly. So if I ask her "what is this (doll, bear, cat, etc.)'s name?" - "It's Carly." I have no idea from where that came.

We've taken to calling farts "The thunder from down under".

I feel like there is so much more but I'm drawing a blank. I'll update as I think of things.

On a side note, we've decided not to send her to preschool this year. It would have been too stressful financially and she does really like her daycare. And, in a great twist of fate (destiny?) her daycare provider emailed me last week to say she would be starting a preschool curriculum at her house. While last year she had more babies than kids, this year most of the kids are 2.5 and up. I think this will be great for Sophie because she's with people we all trust and she gets to do school-type activities.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:04 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2008

Book Recommendation

Another great recommendation from the Savvy Source quiz: Katie's Sunday Afternoon

We've read it over and over and over since we got it from the library. It's very imaginative and fun. It's about a little girl who visits a pointilist exhibit at a local museum to beat the heat and ends up getting into the paintings to cool off.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:30 AM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2008

Salt and Pepper Shakers

Adorable cruelty-free shell salt and pepper shakers (say that ten times fast). (via Modish)

Posted by erika 'round about 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

Savvy Source

You may notice a new banner on the right for Savvy Source. I read about it on the Karianna Spectrum and decided to try it out for Sophie.

The site features a detailed quiz on your (preschool-aged) child and what they're into and doing. And then the site compiles all the data and gives you a ton of age-appropriate ideas for books and activities and toys that will help spur the learning process.

I've already borrowed a few of the recommended books from the library: Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail (to inspire artistic expression), Animalia, and Beast Feast, to name a few. The Picasso one, especially, is a huge hit with Sophie.

The Savvy Source site is more than just that great quiz. There are lists of activities, a search tool to find preschools, camps, and much, much more.


I liked the results and recommendations of the quiz so much that I emailed Kari to thank her for the link. She invited me to be part of SavvySource. So, this is a long, convoluted way of saying that I'm endorsing their quiz and I recommend it to you but that (full disclosure) I'm also running their ad on my site. I'm running the ad because I like the results and recommendations and I've added a lot of their recommendations to Sophie's wish list. I will be checking back and updating the quiz often to get more ideas.

I especially liked how the quiz is broken up into learning categories and the recommendations are very specific to those categories.

Anyhoo, please check it out. And let me know what you think.

Posted by erika 'round about 06:35 PM | Comments (0)